What is Helicopter Parenting?

What is the best way to raise children? This question, which has been asked for centuries, continues to be discussed among parents and prospective parents. Most likely, every parent thinks that their own way of raising a child is the right way. The first instinct of every parent who embraces his little baby who has just opened his eyes to life for the first time, wants to protect him from all harm and offer him the best life possible. Every parent wants their child to be happy and does not want to miss any opportunity to make his life easier. For some parents, this instinctive “support” behavior is taken a step further and reaches the point of circling the child like a helicopter. Thus, a new term for parenting is born: helicopter parenting.

This relatively new term, which emerges from every parent’s need for their child to be happy and safe, first comes to mind as “What is helicopter parenting?” brings the question. “What is helicopter parenting?” The question can be answered briefly as “The state of being overly concerned with the child’s life”. Although this type of parenting, which can be defined as the opposite of freelance parenting, seems like the right way to raise happy and successful children, this method often backfires and does more harm than good. Although it may seem like a new term due to the fact that it has been widely known in recent years, helicopter parenting is actually not new. For the first time, Dr. This term, used in Haim Ginott’s book Parents and Adolescents, published in 1969,


Helicopter Parenting Features

The opposite of liberal parenting, where independence, self-discipline, and self-reflection are at the forefront, helicopter parenting is quite similar to lawnmower parenting, which can be Turkish for “grass-mowing parents” in the United States. The characteristics of helicopter parenting are also very similar with this parenting, which means that all obstacles that the child may encounter are removed by the parent so that the child does not experience pain and disappointment. Helicopter parenting parents are often very concerned about the child’s safety, restricting the child more than their peers, and overly concerned about the child’s affairs. The most common helicopter parenting traits and habits are as follows:

  • Being too perfectionist about the child,
  • Being overly controlling
  • To be always within the reach of the child and to be ready for intervention,
  • Violating the child’s personal boundaries and private space,
  • Assuming that the child cannot make the right decision on his own,
  • Wanting the child to always look perfect,
  • Being overprotective of the child
  • Being too concerned with the child’s friendships.


Helicopter Parenting Examples

Parents who hear the term helicopter parenting, which means being overly involved in the child’s life, often do not take it upon themselves. Among the most important reasons for this is the fact that the boundaries of the expressions “excessive” and “excess” in the helicopter parenting characteristics and definition are unclear, as well as the fact that each parent finds their own method correct. So, what are some examples that will help us better understand this type of parenting? Here are the most common examples of helicopter parenting…

  • To turn around the child so that nothing bad happens and if it does happen, you can intervene immediately.
  • Going to the child who is dealing with and struggling with a problem or task, to solve the problem for him or to fulfill the task for him,
  • Not allowing the child to dress himself, to dress him,
  • Feeding the child, who is old enough to eat on his own, and pouring his drinks,
  • Doing small tasks that the child can do more slowly on their own to gain time, such as tying shoelaces or buttoning a button.
  • Answering the questions posed to the child instead of letting him/her answer in his/her own words,
  • Limiting the child too much, especially in his social life,
  • Being too concerned with the child’s interests and hobbies, directing him too much or making decisions for him,
  • Preparing a very intense daily, weekly or monthly schedule for the child (including extracurricular activities such as music and sports),
  • Restricting the child’s exploratory behaviors, such as climbing a tree,
  • Not offering any private space to the child, especially at a young age, and always pursuing it like a shadow,
  • Choosing school-age children’s teachers, friends and leisure activities instead
  • Watching, checking, or doing homework instead
  • Don’t let the child fail.
  • To impose their own ambitions and dreams on the child,
  • Being more involved in education life,
  • Telling the child’s teachers how to behave towards their child,
  • To prevent the child from taking on duties and responsibilities in housework,
  • Not allowing the child to solve his own problems,
  • To prevent the child from making his own decisions in an age-appropriate way.

Looking at the helicopter parenting examples above, it is clear that the most distinguishing point is the intensity level of the behaviors. For example, it is quite normal to support a child who is having trouble with homework and asks for help. However, directing the child in this regard or doing his homework instead of asking for help are among the examples of helicopter parenting. Of course, when the child is seen trying to climb a dangerously high tree, it is perfectly normal to tell him that it is dangerous. However, every time the child approaches a tree, he shouts, “Don’t climb!” I mean, it’s too intrusive. The important point in this type of parenting is that the parent realizes how healthy their behavior is. So what should parents who encounter these behavioral patterns do? In short, how to avoid being a helicopter parent?


How to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent

The most important way to avoid being a helicopter parent is to always think long-term! Parents who find themselves in an overly intrusive situation should always ask themselves, “What do I want my child to achieve?” and “Can my child achieve this without my intervention?” they have to ask questions. “How to avoid being a helicopter parent?” Other answers to the question are as follows:

  • Instead of giving the solution directly to the child who has a problem with homework, it is necessary to think about what will help him in the long run. Having the ability to solve problems enables children to deal with their own problems in adulthood. In such cases, it is important to teach the child to look at the problem from different angles and to encourage the child to do research, without helicopter parenting.
  • It is necessary to support the child who has problems in friendships so that he can have a more flexible way of thinking and reach potential solutions. Telling the child what to say to his friend may not always be a solution. It is important to approach the child who has social problems as an active listener and to involve him in a dialogue that will lead him to a solution as much as possible.
  • It should not be forgotten that the mental development of the child is possible by making mistakes. It may not always be the right method to do all the work for the child and to collect everything they drop behind them. These behaviors can send the wrong message to the child that someone will always pick up their mess.
  • Every parent asks themselves, “Whose problem is this?” when faced with a problem with their child. she has to ask. If this problem is the child’s problem, the parent’s job is to help the child solve it, not solve the problem! Children whose parents solve all problems later lack problem-solving skills and more often struggle with common mental health problems such as anxiety or depression.

Of course, there are also problems that children cannot solve on their own. The parent of a child who is bullied at school must intervene and establish the healthiest environment for the child by communicating with the teachers. Health problems, psychological problems or similar problems, processes that parents should be involved in and manage, but it should not be forgotten that none of these problems justify helicopter parenting.

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